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Pop-up museum teaches Colwood students the significance of Remembrance Day

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A hallway inside École John Stubbs Memorial School in Colwood has been transformed into a Hallway of Heroes.

“They are all family members, past and present, who have served in the military,” said Katrina Abell, vice-principal of École John Stubbs Memorial School.

Each image holds a connection to either a student or staff member at the school.

Behind the wall is a classroom turned into a museum of Canada’s military history where children learn about the sacrifices made by those who came ahead of them.

“People died for other people to live,” said Gillian Sherman, a Grade 4 student at the school.

It’s a message not lost on Noah Corbeil, also a Grade 4 student at the school.

“We need to remember how the soldiers fought for everyone and they died and they had families too,” said Corbeil.

Remembrance Day falls on November 11, marking the day in 1918 when the First World War came to an end.

“There was a huge population of Metis who were snipers because of their great ability to shoot,” said Jo-Ina Young, a Metis elder at the school.

The museum is also introducing the children to another day of memorial. November 9 was National Aboriginal Veterans Day.

“People always ask why would the Metis want to go and fight for Canada after we had to fight for our own rights?” said Young. “The reason was is because we know what it’s like to have our land taken away.”

An example of that First Nation contribution is Henry Louis Norwest.

“He killed 115 of the enemy,” said Young.

“This is called a death penny,” said Wade Berglund, a member of the Victoria Esquimalt Military Re-enactors Association, showing a penny that was given to family members of the First World War whose loved ones didn’t make it home.

Berglund owns most of the memorabilia and says engaging with the students as Remembrance Day approaches is a way to honour all of those who fought and made the ultimate sacrifice for our countries freedom.

“It’s worth its weight in gold,” said Berglund. “It’s amazing and I just enjoy doing it.”

On Saturday, one minute of silence will be observed on the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month. A moment John Stubbs students will better understand after their hallways and a single classroom were transformed into a poignant reminder of sacrifice all week long.

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